My shirt was wet the entire day and not from the rain. Photographing here in the tropics is quite a grind and today was not even hot by Singapore standards, just a mere 30 degrees at it’s peak, 29 at its low but it did provide us with our first chance to see the cars on track.
I had to use my brolly when entering the track as there was light rain, visible too when I started shooting the arriving teams as you can see from this shot of Haas boss Gunther Steiner.I shot both tight and wide, with the wide angle shots showing where we are in the world. Because there was a TV crew ambushing every driver as they entered the paddock (mucking up our shots), I went outside for a while to find arriving drivers. Here Marcus Ericsson’s blonde hair contrasts nicely with almost everyone else’s dark hair. I even convinced him to pose next to his caricature at the Paddock entrance.Most of the drivers came through the main swipegate, however while out the front I spotted Kimi Raikonnen in a golf buggy. I only got one frame and it was blurry but a TV cameraman, who didn’t even pick up his camera, told me he always bypasses the main entrance and heads to the secondary one at the other end of the 250m long paddock. He obviously wasn’t keen on this mob snapping him.I raced past the above snappers and headed to the other end where I found him walking alone, without the pesky TV interviewer and got a nice clean shot. This is LAT photographer Andy Hone, well… the back of his head anyway and my word, isn’t that a statement of a haircut.After a couple of hours of sweating it out in the paddock, I headed back to the air conditioned media centre to edit and then walked to the final turn for the first practice session which took place in daylight, the only session in daylight this weekend. I spent most of the time shooting wide to incorporate the unique Singapore landmarks like the Marina Bay Sands Hotel.The palm trees along the waterfront.And the Singapore Flyer ferris wheel which I shot from 3 spots to give it a slightly different perspective each time.Because there was such a contrast between the sky and the track, I had to do some work in Lightroom on these which involved bringing down the intensity of the sky and lifting the bottom part of the shot. For the record, the photo holes in the wire fence are at such a height that to shoot a wide angle shot like the ones above I had to put my 185cm tall body in an uncomfortable position and then deal with the sweat that runs down into your eyes, oh and then there’s the stifling heat, god knows how the suited up drivers get by.
I tried some panning and tight shots over the session and even had some sparking. And I found a nice reflection shot of the ferris wheel in water that had pooled on top of the plastic crash barriers.After a hot walk back to the media centre, a healthy dinner from the canteen of a can of Pringles, a blueberry muffin, a Mars bar plus an ice cream and then an hour of editing, I was ready to walk back to the Singapore Flyer to shoot from the sky.
I was thrilled to find I had a whole (air conditioned) cabin that normally seats 40, to myself. I got in and unpacked all of my kit and waited for the track to appear. The glass is thick and it is very difficult to get focus if you shoot at an angle to the glass. A revolution takes 30 minutes and I timed my ride so that I was at the top of the revolution when the cars came out on track at 8.30pm.
There were so many opportunities but the time passes quickly and it’s hectic shooting. At the end of the revolution I asked for another 30 minutes and was granted the request. I was surprised at how easy it was to spot where the cars were sparking, with this spot on the start/finish straight being the best point. Then for the last 30 minutes of the 90 minute session I returned to the last turn to shoot from the same spots I shot from in the late after but obviously in darkness. I started off using a star filter.In the pic below you see just how close these cars come to the unforgiving concrete barriers.After the session I shot the two press conferences featuring the team bosses and for the first time, we had a translator for the two Japanese men from Honda.That’s all I can tell you about Singapore day 2, unless of course I missed the heat. No, I think I mentioned that although I keep getting told that this is mild compared to Kuala Lumpur. Oh well, it is what it is.